Thursday, November 2, 2017

Commercial Fishing: The first time I heard the word Sushi

The things you remember during your life that somehow shaped who you are. I grew up in Washington State in a small town in the Puget Sound.  The first time I heard the word Sushi was In high school.  Back in the day, I used to commercial fish with a High School friend in Oak Harbor Washington.  My friend had what was called a gillnetter.  It's a boat with a big spool that has a 1800ft net rolled up on it.  When fishing the net is laid out in a straight line.  The fish would run into the net while swimming and get caught in their gills.  We would then roll the net back up on the spool pick fish out of it in the process.

It was in the summer of 79. The state opened salmon fishing in Samish Bay for Nooksack River Kings. These fish averaged 30-35 pounds apiece and we were getting $3.50 a pound for them, that's 100 bucks a fish. Getting 10% of the total catch there were some nights I made over a $1000.00. That was a lot of money in 1979.  When selling these fish I asked the tender workers what was happening to them. He said, "These fish were going straight to Japan to be sold for Sushi." This is why the high price. It was the first time I felt I was living in an interconnected world.  I imagined 747 cargo planes full of King Salmon flying to Japan.

Those were some fun times.  Who would have thunk it, me catching fish that was going to be eaten by someone in Japan, it was hard to wrap my head around it, at the time.   I really don't remember the first time I ate sushi, it was years after hearing the word.  Once I tried it I loved it. I now eat it regularly. To think we gave the Japanese the fish and they eventually gave us the Sushi.